Current Affairs, 14 December 2017
Role of women and women’s organization.
Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade
Context: For the
first time in the history of the World Trade Organization, WTO members and
observers have endorsed a collective initiative to increase the participation
of women in trade. In order to help women reach their full potential in the
world economy, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Buenos
Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, which seeks to remove barriers to, and
foster, women’s economic empowerment.
members and observers have specifically agreed to explore and find ways to best
tackle barriers to trade, lack of access to trade financing and sub-optimal
participation of women in public procurement markets.
influential WTO member, was among the minority group that chose not to endorse
the move saying while it stoutly supports gender equality, it cannot concur
with the view that gender is a trade-related issue. Agreeing to the proposition
to link gender and trade could lead to advanced countries using their high
standards in gender-related policies to not only curb exports from the
developing world, but also indirectly restrict developing countries from
incentivising their women citizens as part of measures to address developmental
observed that gender-related discussions should take place at appropriate fora
and not at the WTO, which is purely a trade-related body. Otherwise, it will
set a precedent to bring in other non-trade issues such as labour and
environment standards into the WTO’s ambit.
women worldwide stand on the sidelines of the economy. While women comprise
about half of the global population, they generate only 37% of gross domestic
product (GDP) and run only about a third of small and medium-sized enterprises.
In some developing countries, female business ownership can dip as low as 3-6%.
An International Trade Centre survey in 20 countries found that just one in
five exporting companies is owned by women. In more than 155 countries, there
is at least one law impeding economic opportunities for women. No country has
managed to close the gender gap on economic participation and opportunity;
progress is so slow it would take, at the current rate, 170 years to reach
gender equality. It is also apparent that international trade and trade
agreements affect women and men differently.
Aires Women and Trade Declaration:
It was spearheaded
by the governments of Iceland and Sierra Leone, as well as the International
Trade Centre. It stemmed from efforts made by the Trade Impact Group of the
International Gender Champions, a leadership network that brings female and
male decision-makers together to break down gender barriers. The declaration
seeks women’s economic empowerment by expeditiously removing barriers to trade.
Government policies and interventions for development in
various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Government to regulate ads on pre-natal sex
Context: Nine years
after it took upon itself the task of regulating ads and content relating to
sex-determination tests banned under local law, the Supreme Court has now
washed its hands of the matter and left it to the government to take care of
such issues in consultation with the search engines. The court cited lack of
expertise as a reason for this.
The case had begun
in 2008, when an activist filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to get the
search engines to abide by local law which bans such tests to arrest the
falling sex ratio in the country. The government had then set up a nodal body
to act as the interface with the search engines on such complaints. The court
had passed umpteen orders in which the court warned the engines that they
should either follow local law or shut shop.
& Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) Act, 1994 was enacted in
response to the decline in Sex ratio in India, which deteriorated from 972 in
1901 to 927 in 1991. The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of
sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of
prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.
Offences under this act include conducting or helping in
the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex
selection on a man or woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the
one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra
sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus.
The act was amended in 2003 to improve the regulation of
the technology used in sex selection. The Act was amended to bring the
technique of pre conception sex selection and ultrasound technique within the
ambit of the act.
The amendment also empowered the central supervisory
board and state level supervisory board was constituted. In 1988, the State of
Maharashtra became the first in the country to ban pre-natal sex determination
through enacting the Maharashtra Regulation of Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques
Government policies and interventions for development in
sectors and issues arising out of their design and
Context: The government
has signed a Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of USD 250 million (equivalent)
for the “Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion
(SANKALP) Project” with the World Bank.
What is it?
SANKALP is a Centrally
sponsored scheme. It is an outcome focused scheme marking shift in government’s
implementation strategy in vocational education and training from inputs to
results. SANKALP will provide market relevant training to 3.5 crore youth.
Objective: The Objective of the project is to enhance institutional
mechanisms for skills development and increase access to quality and
market-relevant training for the work force.
provides the required impetus to the National Skill Development Mission, 2015
and its various sub missions. It is aligned to flagship Government of India
programs such as Make in India and Swachhta Abhiyan and aims at developing
globally competitive workforce for domestic and overseas requirements.
result areas for the project include Institutional Strengthening
at the National and State Levels for Planning, Delivering, and Monitoring
High-Quality Market-Relevant Training; Improved Quality and Market Relevance of
Skills Development Programs; Improved access to and completion of skills
training for female trainees and other disadvantaged groups; and Expanding
skills training through private-public partnerships (PPPs).
Issues relating to development and management of Social
Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Context: ‘The Legatum
Prosperity Index 2017’, an annual ranking developed by the London-based Legatum
Institute, has been released.
Legatum Prosperity Index:
Prosperity Index is the world’s leading global measure of economic and social
wellbeing that studies 104 indicators under these categories: Economic Quality,
Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and
Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment. The Index offers a unique
insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.
prosperity at a record high: World prosperity
increased in 2017 and now sits at its highest level in the last decade. It is
now 2.6% higher than in 2007. Furthermore, prosperity growth has been faster
from 2012 to 2017 than it was from 2007 to 2012. However, the gap between the
highest and lowest scores in the Index has increased for five straight years
and the spread between nations is growing, indicating that while prosperity as
a whole may be increasing, not all countries are yet benefiting from the
makes the greatest gains: While prosperity
improved around the world in 2017, no region grew as fast as Asia-Pacific.
Gains came through a fast-improving Business Environment, especially in the
population centres of India (100th), China (90th), Pakistan (137th) and
Indonesia (59th). It is now easier to access credit, and intellectual property
rights have improved.
government accountability: Every region in the
world improved in Governance in 2017, with Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa rising
fastest. Across the world judiciaries became more independent from state
interference and the process of challenging governmental regulation became
easier. People also became more confident in the outcome of elections.
Safety and Security in the MENA region: Despite gains in Social
Capital and a strengthening Business Environment, overall prosperity in the
Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has suffered in recent years through
worsening Safety and Security. Casualties from both war and terrorism have
increased, along with a rise in state-sponsored violence.
India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Context: Sri Lanka
has formally handed over its southern port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year
lease, which government critics have denounced as an erosion of the country’s
Sri Lanka, in July
2017, cleared a revised deal for the Chinese-built port in Hambantota. The
modified agreement is believed to be more profitable to Sri Lanka and also
addresses security concerns raised by other countries. As per the deal, while
the Chinese would manage port operations, no naval ship, including Chinese
ones, can call at Hambantota without Sri Lanka’s permission.
of Hambantota port for China:
right in the middle of vital energy supply lines in the Indian Ocean,
connecting the Middle East and East Asia. For Beijing, the Hambantota
project is a linchpin of the “One Belt One Road” project, which aims to build a
new Silk Road of trade routes between China and more than 60 countries in Asia,
the Middle East, Africa and Europe. That project is underpinned by a network of
harbours across the world that have put China in a position to challenge the US
as the world’s most important maritime superpower. Other similar developments
in the region include the Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is the centrepiece of
the $55bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Why is India
sits on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, provides access to critical Indian Ocean
sea lanes. The acquisition of the port by China has spurred particular alarm in
India, which is concerned about Beijing’s growing strategic and economic
footprint in the Indian Ocean region.
International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Context: Pakistan has
rejected India’s plea for consular access to death row prisoner Kulbhushan
Jadhav at the ICJ, claiming that New Delhi wants the access to get the
information gathered by its “spy”. In its counter-memorial submitted to the
International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan said the provision of such an
access under the Vienna Convention is only for legitimate visitors and not for
maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests
after retiring from the Navy.
What is it?
Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial body of the UN. Established in
1946 to replace the Permanent Court of International Justice, the ICJ mainly
operates under the statute of its predecessor, which is included in the UN
It has two primary
functions: to settle legal disputes submitted by States in accordance with
established international laws, and to act as an advisory board on issues
submitted to it by authorized international organizations.
Members of the
Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office
by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs
vote simultaneously but separately. In order to be elected, a candidate must
receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies. In order to ensure a
measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years.
Judges are eligible for re-election.
Who nominates the
government, party to the Charter, designates a group who propose candidates for
the office of ICJ judges. This group includes four members/jurists of the
Permanent Court of Arbitration (machinery which enables arbitral tribunals to
be set up as desired and facilitates their work) also picked by the State.
Countries not part of the statute follow the same procedure where a group
nominates the candidates.
Each group is
limited to nominate four candidates, two of whom could be of their nationality.
Within a fixed duration set by the Secretary-General, the names of the
candidates have to be sent to him/her.
What are the
qualifications of ICJ judges?
A judge should have a high moral character.
A judge should fit to the qualifications of appointment
of highest judicial officers as prescribed by their respective states or.
A judge should be a juriconsult of recognized competence
in international law.
The 15 judges of
the Court are distributed as per the regions:
Three from Africa.
Two from Latin America and Caribbean.
Three from Asia.
Five from Western Europe and other states.
Two from Eastern Europe.
Once elected, a
Member of the Court is a delegate neither of the government of his own country
nor of that of any other State. Unlike most other organs of international
organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments.
Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up
their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will
exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.
In order to guarantee
his or her independence, no Member of the Court can be dismissed unless, in the
unanimous opinion of the other Members, he/she no longer fulfils the required
conditions. This has in fact never happened.
Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers,
robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual
Context: Telecom major
Bharti Airtel, as part of expanding its services, has launched Voice over Long
Term Evolution (VoLTE) facility for its customers in Chennai. Airtel VoLTE
works over 4G services that will enable customers across the city to enjoy HD
quality voice calls with faster call set up time.
players are battling tooth and nail to retain their competitive position in the
market and VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) is their new mantra. It
promises faster, better and wider data connectivity. India is witnessing a
VoLTE revolution thanks to the competition stirred up by Reliance Jio.
What is VoLTE?
VoLTE stands for voice
over Long Term Evolution. VoLTE is an Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem
(IMS) specification which enables a variety of services to operate seamlessly
on the network rather than having to switch to different applications for voice
How it works?
VoLTE is a
technology update to the LTE protocol used by mobile phone networks. Under LTE,
the infrastructure of telecom players only allows transmission of data while
voice calls are routed to their older 2G or 3G networks. This is why, under
LTE, one cannot access 4G data services while on a call. This leads to problems
such as slow internet speeds and poor voice clarity. VoLTE allows voice calls
to be ‘packaged’ and carried through LTE networks. This would mean 4G data
accessibility even during calls.
Benefits of VoLTE:
VoLTE provides a more efficient use of spectrum than
traditional voice and increases handset battery life.
VoLTE ensures that video services are fully interoperable
across the operator community, just as voice services are, as demand for video
Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,
environmental impact assessment.
waste in India
The UN, in its
latest report- Global E-waste Monitor 2017, has warned about the health and environmental
dangers from the processing of e-waste — the discarded electronic and
electrical material — by the informal sector in India without proper
The UN has made
the following observations in its report:
Over 1 million poor people in India are involved in
manual recycling operations, but “most of these people have very low literacy
levels with little awareness of the dangers of the operations.
Severe health impacts and environmental damage are
widespread in India, due to the final step of the e-waste processing by the
informal sector. The dangers come from “improper and unsafe treatment and
disposal through open burning or in dumpsites.
The value of recoverable precious materials like gold,
silver, copper, platinum and palladium contained in last year’s e-waste was $55
billion and much of it was going to waste.
produced 1.95 million tonnes of e-waste last year — or about 1.5 kg per person
— and it also imports it from developed countries. Last year, the world
produced 44.7 million tonnes of e-waste or 6.1 kg per person, which is four
times more than the e-waste produced by each Indian. Only 8.9 million tonnes —
or 20 per cent — per cent of total global e-waste was recycled.
E-waste includes a
whole variety of small and large appliances, and electronic equipment including
cell phones, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, computers and lamps, small
appliance and large appliances, lamps.
Efforts by India:
A formal e-waste
recycling sector is now being developed in major Indian cities and under the
country’s rules producers have extended responsibility for the handling the
waste that ultimately results from their products. The main features of the
regulations are a refundable deposit scheme that incentivises recycling and
parallel to that is the creation of Producer Responsibility Organisations to
handle the waste.
Why it is
difficult to manage e waste in India?
The producers/manufacturers do not have adequate
information on their website regarding e waste management.
Customer care representatives do not have inkling about
any take back or recycling programme and even if they have set up collection
centres, they are simply not enough for a geographically vast country like
India being a vast country, setting up collection
mechanism is a big challenge. If any of the brands try individually to reach
out to all corners of the country, it will economically not be sustainable or
Improper enforcement of the existing laws is another
Looking ahead, the
problem could become more acute with cheaper cell phones and other equipment
becoming available. This means that more people will be able to afford
purchasing new equipment, and that more equipment will eventually be discarded.
Therefore, there is need for developing systems to safely handle the e-waste
and recycle it.
Security challenges and their management in border areas;
linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
Context: India’s first
modern conventional submarine, INS Kalvari, has been commissioned into Navy’s
INS Kalvari- key
The diesel-electric submarine is designed by French naval
defence and energy company DCNS. The submarine is named after the dreaded tiger
shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean.
The submarine boasts of superior stealth features such as
advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels,
hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack
on the enemy using precision-guided weapons.
The submarine, which has a speed of 20 knots, is equipped
with sea-skimming SM-39 Exocet missiles and heavy-weight wire-guided surface
and underwater target torpedoes.
Facts for Prelims:
Amarnath cave declared a ‘silent zone’:
In a bid to
preserve the eco- sensitive Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas,
the National Green Tribunal has declared it a “silence zone” and prohibited
religious offerings beyond the entry point. Declaring the area around the
Amarnat cave shrine a “silence zone” would be helpful in preventing avalanches
and maintaining its pristine nature.
this move: The Amarnath cave shrine is considered to be one of the
holiest in Hinduism. The cave itself is covered with snow most of the year
except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims. The
Amarnath cave is located in a delicate ecosystem. The directions would make the
Amarnath Yatra safe and convenient for the devotees. This would protect the
shrine from degradation and ensure it is protected for the coming generations.
Rajasthan becomes first in country to offer e-mail
IDs in Hindi:
become the first state in the country to offer free e-mail address in Hindi to
its residents. The facility —firstname.lastname@example.org (in Devanagari script)
— will lead to millions of new users who are not comfortable with English
e-mail ids. The initiative will ensure maximum participation of people towards
e-governance and also that maximum facilities are available in vernacular
On December 4, the
Chairman of Rajya Sabha disqualified two Members of Parliament (MPs) from the
House under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (better known as the
anti-defection law) for having defected from their party. These members were
elected on a Janata Dal (United) ticket.
The orders of the
Chairman have established a benchmark, both in terms of speedy disposal as well
as the quality of the decisions.
legislators defecting in violation of the law have been made in several other
states including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Nagaland,
Telangana and Uttarakhand in recent years.
The objective of
the landmark anti-defection law of 1985 was to enhance the credibility of the
country’s polity by addressing rampant party-hopping by elected representatives
for personal and political considerations.
What is the
Gaya Ram was a phrase that became popular in Indian politics
after a Haryana MLA changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967. The anti-defection
law sought to prevent such political defections.
The Tenth Schedule
was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by the 52nd Amendment Act. It lays
down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of
defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any
other member of the House.
A legislator is deemed to have defected if he
either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or
disobeys the directives of the party leadership (whip) on a vote.
This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or
voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the
As a pre-condition for his disqualification, his
abstention from voting should not be condoned by his party or the authorised
person within 15 days of such incident.
The decision on question as to disqualification on ground
of defection is referred to the Chairman or the Speaker of such House, and his
decision is final.
The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.
under the law:
change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain
The law allows a
party to merge with or into another party provided that at least
two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario,
neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the
original party will face disqualification.
How has the
law been interpreted by the Courts while deciding on related matters?
The Supreme Court
has interpreted different provisions of the law.
The law provides for a member to be disqualified if
he/she ‘voluntarily gives up his membership’. However, the Supreme Court
has interpreted that in the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the
giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct.
In other judgments, members who have publicly expressed
opposition to their party or support for another party were deemed to have
In the case of the
two JD(U) MPs who were disqualified from Rajya Sabha on December 4th,
they were deemed to have ‘voluntarily given up their membership’ by engaging in
anti-party activities which included criticizing the party on public
forums on multiple occasions, and attending rallies organised by
opposition parties in Bihar.
the Presiding Officer is subject to judicial review
The law initially
stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial
review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1992, thereby
allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and
Supreme Court. However, it held that there may not be any judicial intervention
until the Presiding Officer gives his order.
In 2015, the
Hyderabad High Court, refused to intervene after hearing a petition which
alleged that there had been delay by the Telangana Assembly Speaker in acting
against a member under the anti-defection law.
The Chairman is
required either to proceed to determine the question himself or refer it to the
committee of privileges for a preliminary inquiry. But reference to the
committee is contingent upon the Chairman satisfying himself that it is
necessary or expedient to do so; it is not mandatory.
As a matter of
fact, in several cases in the past, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the
Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, whenever “the circumstances of the case” so
warranted, have “determined the question” themselves, without referring it to
Is there a
time limit within which the Presiding Officer has to decide?
The law does not
specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification
plea. Given that courts can intervene only after the Presiding Officer has
decided on the matter, the petitioner seeking disqualification has no option but
to wait for this decision to be made.
There have been
several cases where the Courts have expressed concern about the unnecessary
delay in deciding such petitions. In some cases this delay in decision
making has resulted in members, who have defected from their parties,
continuing to be members of the House.
There have also
been instances where opposition members have been appointed ministers in the
government while still retaining the membership of their original parties in
In Andhra Pradesh,
legislators of the main opposition party recently boycotted the entire 12-day
assembly session. This boycott was in protest against the delay of over
18 months in action being taken against legislators of their party who have
allegedly defected to the ruling party.
President, in his recent order disqualifying two JD(U) members stated that all
such petitions should be decided by the Presiding Officers within a period of
around three months.
anti-defection law affect the ability of legislators to make decisions?
law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not
switch sides. However, this law also restricts a legislator from voting in line
with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate. Such a
situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the
government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the
party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the
nature of the issue. Several experts have suggested that the law should be
valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government
(passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions).
significance of recent decision of Vice President
orders assume significance in the context of instances where members have
switched sides and became ministers in the governments, which are formed by
parties against whom they contested and won.
The chairman of
Rajya sabha(Vice President) declared that those two defected had ceased to be
members of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect on account of having incurred
disqualification under Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.
The orders of the
Chairman have established a benchmark, both in terms of speedy disposal (about
three months) as well as the quality of the decisions. Since the anti-defection
law came into place, there have been a large number of cases where proceedings
have dragged on for years.
the order, Chairman made it clear that while dissent is a political right, it
should be articulated appropriately without striking at the roots of the
functioning of the party-based democratic system.
cases should not be kept pending and dragged on by the Presiding Officers, with
a view to save the membership of the persons, who have otherwise incurred
disqualification or even to save the Government, which enjoys majority only
because of such type of persons.
All such petitions
should be decided by the Presiding Officers within a period of around three
months by giving an opportunity to the concerned Members (Seven days of time as
per the Rule 7(3) of the Members of Rajya Sabha) against whom there are
allegations, which lead to their disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to
the Constitution of India so as to effectively thwart the evil of political
defections, which if left uncurbed are likely to undermine the very foundations
of our democracy and the principles which sustain it.
ONE LINERS CURRENT AFFAIRS
submarine is the rst indigenously built Scorpene-class submarine to be
commissioned into the Indian navy - INS Kalvari
National Energy Conservation Day is celebrated on this day - 14 December
bollywood actor, writer and director, passed away on 14 December after being in
coma for over a year - Neeraj Vora
• These two
nations met recently to overcome the World War II legacy that soured relations
between them - Ukraine and Poland
Indian cricketer became the rst-ever batsman to score 3 double centuries in
ODIs - Rohit Sharma
Indian actor was honoured with the 2017 Mother Teresa Memorial Award - Priyanka
Nations ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018’ report forecasted GDP
growth for India for 2018 at - 7.2 per cent
appointed as the Executive Director of Reserve Bank of India recently - Uma
sports activity was referred to the ve-judge Constitution bench for determining
whether it is cultural right within Article 29 of the Constitution - Jallikattu
conferred with the inaugural Diwali "Power of One" award of the UN -
• India was
ranked at this position in terms of mobile internet speed in the Speedtest
Global Index released by Ookla - 109
was named as the word of the year 2017 by - Merriam-Webster
Hotels, restaurants can sell bottled
water above MRP stated by Supreme Court on - 13th December 2017
Amarnath Cave shrine declared a Silent Zone by -
INS Kalvari, first Scorpene-class submarine
commissioned into Indian Navy on - 14th November 2017
Sri Lanka hands over Hambantota port to China on -
9th December 2017
MoU signed between India and Morocco - for
enhanced cooperation in healthcare
Hotels, restaurants can sell bottled water above MRP stated by Supreme
Court on - 13th December 2017
The Supreme Court on 13th
December 2017 gave orders that hotels and restaurants are not bound by MRP
in selling packed bottled water. Thus, hotels and restaurants can sell the
packed bottled water more than MRP.
A bench led by Justice Rohinton F Nariman governed the provisions of Legal
Metrology Act, 2009 will not be significant on hotels and restaurants selling
packed water bottles and therefore, hotels cannot be put on trial
for selling mineral water more than MRP.
The apex court noticed that selling packed water bottles is not a case of a
simple sale because none of person goes to the hotel to buy a bottle of
mineral water. There are composite factors of sale and service in hotels
and restaurants wherein customers also enjoy the ambience formed by these
Did you know?
The Supreme Court was hearing
a petition filed by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of
India against Delhi High Court orders which explained that hotels and
restaurants in the NCR cannot sell packed water bottles mineral water more
Therefore, the Union Government released affidavit against FHRAI explaining
that selling bottled mineral water more than MRP will allured monetary
penalty and jail term for the management staff of restaurants, hotels
and multiplexes according to Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
Amarnath Cave shrine declared a
Silent Zone by – NGT
In order to protect the
eco-sensitive Amarnath cave, the National Green Tribunal announced it a silence
zone and banned religious offerings such as hymns chanting and ringing
bells near the entry point.
The Amarnath cave temple is located in the Himalayas in the state ofJ&K.
The NGT bench headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar instructed that
Amarnath Shrine Board should make it sure that adequate infrastructural
solutions are given to the pilgrims so that they are not deprived of
a sound and comfortable darshan, and the ecosystem of the area is not
Important key points
The NGT stated that nobody
would be permitted to bring anything off the stairs towards the sacred cave
and everybody should be properly examined at the entry gate.
The green panel instructed the shrine board to withdraw
the iron grills in front of the ice stalagmite similar to the Shiva Linga
so that followers could get a better visibility of it.
The NGT prohibited any personal material, including
phones, after the last checkpoint. It instructed the shrine board to build
a safe place for keeping devotees belongings.
The green panel also instructed the committee of experts
led by an additional secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests
to submit an action plan on giving facilities to the devotees within 3 weeks.
Did you know?
The NGT, In November this year, knocked the Amarnath
Shrine Board for not giving proper facilities to pilgrims going to
The green panel also questioned the Amarnath Shrine Board
about non-compliance with the instructions issued by the Supreme Court in
2012 and asked the board about their what actions taken in following years.
The bench instructed the experts committee to submit a
details on providing a adequate path and announcing the cave shrine a
INS Kalvari, first Scorpene-class submarine commissioned into Indian Navy
on - 14th November 2017
INS Kalvari, the 1st of the
Scorpene-class submarines, was hired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
14th December 2017.
The hiring ceremony was held at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, which was
witnessed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Navy chief Admiral Sunil
Lanba and leading defence officers.
The war ship is the first of 6 such submarines that will
be installed into the Indian Navy. It appears as a significant victory for
the Make in India initiative.
The submarines are being indigenously manufactured by the
Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd in Mumbai under Project 75 in cooperation with
French industrial group DCNS.
Kalvari, a diesel-electric attack submarine, is
recommended as India’s deadliest submarine and is supposed to bolster
India’s maritime skills.
The vessel had undergone around 120 days of extensive sea
test and trails for different equipment’s.
Did you know?
It is named after the 1st Foxtrot-class submarine Kalvari
that was introduced into the Indian Navy on 8th December 1967.
It was withdrawn on 31st May 1996 after almost 3 decades
More about Scorpene-Class
The submarines are outlined by French naval defence and
energy company DCNS and are being assembled by Mazagon Dock Limited in
India selected the Scorpene blueprint in 2005, purchasing
6 submarines for US$3 billion under Project 75.
The Scorpène class submarines have the ability to fire
Exocet anti-ship missiles.
India idea to include the DRDO-developed air independent
propulsion system onto the previous 2 submarines being manufactured.
Sri Lanka hands over Hambantota port to China on - 9th December 2017
Sri Lanka on 9th December 2017
officially handed over the strategic southern port of Hambantota to China on a
99-year lease and got USD 292 million out of USD 1.12 billion contract signed
between both the nations in July 2017.
2 Chinese firms Hambantota International Port Group and Hambantota
International Port Services handled by the China Merchants Port Holdings
Company and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will retain the port and
the investment areas around it.
Hambantota as a major port in
the Indian Ocean
Hambantota will now be changed to a major port in the
Indian Ocean. There will be an economic area and industrialisation in the
zone will lead to economic progress and will promote tourism.
The port is supposed to play an important role in China’s
One Belt and One Road initiative, which will connect ports and roads
between China and Europe.
However, Sri Lanka elucidated that the port will not be
utilized as a military base by any foreign nation. This comes as a relaxation
for India’s security concerns over the Chinese navy’s existence in Sri Lanka.
Hambantota Port: A Medium for Sri Lanka to pay off its
debts .With this deal dubbed as a sell-out by the criticism and trade unions,
Sri Lanka focuses to shed off the debts of USD 8 billion it owes to China.
The USD 1.5 billion port was inaugurated in 2010, but was
incurring losses because of lack of commercial actions.
Sri Lanka, currently, decided to give 80% stake to the
Chinese organizations. However, this triggered resistance by trade unions
and opposition groups pressurising the government to bound China’s role to run
After that, both the sides negotiated to redraw the
agreement and signed a USD 1.12 billion agreement in July 2017 in which
Sri Lanka sold 70% stake in the Hambantota port to China.
MoU signed between India and Morocco - for enhanced cooperation in
India signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with Morocco on 14th December 2017 to enable
enhanced cooperation in the health areas.
The accordance was signed by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda
and Morocco’s Health Minister, Abdelkader Amara in the presence of top
officials from the Union Health Ministry and the visiting high- level
commission from the North African country.
Talking on the occasion, J P Nadda told that both the countries share a strong
and healthy traditional
relationship. He underlined that India is the manufacturer of quality generic
medicines and drugs that are exported to approximately 200 countries and
has a powerful public health system observed through National Health
The MoU will facilitate both the countries work together in recognized areas of
cooperation as there is a lot that each can provide to the other in the
area of health.
Following are the main areas
- Non-communicable diseases, for example child
cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical Quality Control.
- Communicable Diseases.
- Maternal, child and neonatal health.
- Hospital twinning for the interchange of good
- Training in administration and management of health
facilities and Hospitals.
- Apart from this, another MoU was signed between
India’s Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and
Research, Puducherry and Morocco’s Marrakech Mohamed VI University
Hospital in the presence of both the Politicians.
- Under the accordance, both the Institutes agreed to
cooperate in the field of telemedicine with main aimed areas being
Tele-Health Care, technical support in controlling epidemics, Health
Education and help in rendering the 2nd opinion on different complicated
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